December 03, 2015 - 11:48 AM
KELOWNA – A Kelowna grocery store is the first in B.C. outside the Lower Mainland to offer a new aisle to a trunk delivery service that could cut grocery shopping time down to less than 15 minutes — and you never have to leave your car.
The service, called Click & Collect, was launched at seven Real Canadian Superstore’s around Vancouver this year, and last month the Kelowna location on Baron Road became the eighth in the province.
The soft launch isn’t being advertised on T.V. and the grocery store chain's spokesperson stops short of calling it the future of grocery shopping, but for people with disabilities, parents with kids, or anyone who is busy, it could be a game changer.
For a $3.00 to $5.00 fee, customers have access to the website’s virtual grocery aisles. Nutritional info, price, points and videos are available and when you checkout you can either prepay with a credit card on file or pay by cash or debit at pick up. When you pull up the groceries are put into the trunk of your car and you only pay for what you take home.
“It feels like a white glove service,” spokesperson Lauren Steinberg says. “There are four spaces right at the front as close as we can get them to the front door. I know those parking spaces are hard to come by at Superstore. If you prepay you don’t even have to take your wallet out.”
Steinberg says at a grocery store the size of the one on Baron Road it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to get through.
“That’s just what we see and hear,” she says. “What we do know is that customers can do it online in less than 15 minutes. Our power users can do it in five minutes.”
Once your order is made, the site offers you a choice of two-hour time slots in which you can pick up your groceries. For the time being, shoppers must place their orders before midnight for it to be ready the next day, but Kelowna Superstore manager James Sweibius says they plan to offer same day service sometime in the future.
Steinberg says Kelowna was chosen based on a number of factors, including size, environment and lifestyle.
“We spent a lot of time looking at the landscape out west and we had heard from people in Kelowna who had read about the service and wanted it in their area,” she says. “People in Kelowna live a really healthy lifestyle but this is also for that time starved person who is looking for options. Kelowna is also tech savvy so it was a really nice match for our offering.”
The Kelowna location is currently able to service eight to 10 customers per hour but there are plans to expand the program both in services and to other locations, including the store in West Kelowna.
Steinberg says one hesitation some customers have shared is over having someone else pick out food like fruit and vegetables.
“We teach our employees to shop as if they’re shopping for their parents,” she says. “There’s an option when you’re placing your order to specify what you’re looking for. If you want a ripe avocado because you’re making guacamole tonight, we can do that. If you want green bananas because you want them later in the week, we can do that too.”
Their staging area has several large freezers and a warming oven to keep food hot or cold, and orders are tracked through a barcode system.
“For myself, I hope it’s the future,” Steinberg says. “This is where consumers are going to shop and we want to be wherever the customer is.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015